The action of the United Nations Security Council on Dec. 23 in adopting its jaded resolution against Israel cannot be regarded as particularly surprising in view of its history of constantly ignoring the major problems of the region and essentially supporting the repetitive terroristic activities perpetrated against the Jewish state. What is, however, shocking, and what is completely condemned by the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, is that the Obama administration, in the final month of its tenure, saw fit to abstain, rather than veto, this travesty.
This decision undermined a core principle of American foreign policy with respect to Israel that had been embraced by American administrations of both political parties for decades, the recognition that the only possible solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through direct negotiations between the two sides.
In 2011, the United States vetoed a similar resolution and, in 2014, Ambassador Power, in offering the vote that defeated the then-pending smearing resolution, stated that "peace will come from hard choices and compromises that must be made at the negotiating table." This rationale is even more relevant today.
Although there can be differences with Israel's settlement policies, as U.S. administrations since Reagan have consistently articulated, there can be no place for even tacit support of a Security Council resolution that has little to do with promoting direct Israel-Palestinian negotiations and everything to do with Israel's fundamental right to exist. We are supportive of the recognition of this fact by the President-elect and, ironically, by the government of Egypt, which had the foresight to actually withdraw the original resolution. We also acknowledge statements by U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, as well as numerous Republican and Democratic Senators and Congressmen, condemning the recent U.S. (in)action at the United Nations.
While President Obama has consistently supported Israel's right to self-defense and affirmed that the United States has an "iron-clad commitment to make sure Israel is secure," which was manifested several weeks ago in an unprecedented $38 billion military aid package for Israel, it cannot be ignored that what will likely be this administration's ultimate expression of Mid-East foreign policy is this abstention, i.e., a non-expression and/or as frequently opined in the media, an expression of personal petulance against the Israeli administration, which, in either event, is a feckless way to conduct American foreign policy and will, unfortunately and sadly, further undermine prospects for peace.